Despite the name, hybrid publishing can be a valuable service for writers looking to self-publish their books.
As I covered in a previous article, hybrid publishing is when you pay a company upfront to help you prepare and publish your book.
While the term “hybrid” is used in various contexts, I’ll assume for the sake of this article that you’re working with a freestanding hybrid press that upholds high standards while allowing you to retain control over your book.
If you’re looking to make self-publishing books a career, you may wonder why it may be worth hiring a hybrid. After all, it can cost considerable money for a service you could handle by yourself for considerably less.
In this article, I’ll explain how hybrids justify their service prices and why hybrid publishing can work for you.
Hybrid publishing works with you to hold and maintain your book to professional standards
It’s always worth repeating: for a self-published book to succeed, it has to be of high quality.
“High quality” means your book needs thorough editing, an eye-catching book cover, solid book production, enticing book copy, far-reaching marketing, and numerous other factors that set apart a professional self-published title from the amateurs.
If you’re a first-time author opting out of traditional publishing, it can be daunting to abide by those high standards. To do so, you’d have to learn your share of the publishing process and assemble a team of collaborators to help you with everything else you can’t handle by yourself.
An alternative is to hire a hybrid publisher. When you meet with a hybrid, their coordinator will work with you to vet your book to ensure it’s a good fit for their services. Then the hybrid will educate you about all the necessary services so you can cover all of your bases and craft a publishing package that works best for you.
Hybrid publishing can also help you save time—and often money
When you self-publish solo, you must put in a lot of time. A lot of time requires directly handling aspects of the publishing process. It also involves spending countless hours finding and managing collaborators.
With a hybrid, you instead pay a company to do all the delegation. Of course, you’ll still need to discuss your expectations and needs for a project. However, a hybrid press will then draw from their pool of talent and employ their organizational expertise to secure services in days or weeks for what could take weeks or months for a novice self-publisher.
You may even save money. For example, when hiring contractors yourself, you may end up paying more than what’s reasonable or taking on unexpected costs to replace someone who doesn’t work out. Meanwhile, hybrids are trained to handle those hitches, passing those savings to you.
Hybrid publishing allows you to keep control over how your book is published
Other publishing models require authors to yield considerable control over their books. Traditional publishers will often make choices for their authors, even against the authors’ wishes. Meanwhile, vanity presses don’t do the collaboration and education hybrids do, which may lead to a final product that the author isn’t satisfied with.
Most hybrids make author ownership a core value. This starts with the package, where many hybrid presses will allow authors to opt in and out of various services. Even after the package is agreed upon, hybrids work with authors throughout the publication, keeping regular communication and even allowing authors to veto decisions.
Do keep in mind that sometimes a hybrid publisher might say no in cases where they need to maintain high standards or a request would go above budget. But assuming your requests are reasonable, few other models outside pure self-publishing allow you as much control as hybrid publishing.
Hybrid publishing can be combined with other publishing models, including “pure” self-publishing
When you use a hybrid publisher, you’re under no obligation to publish your future books through that same service. Not only do you retain control over your book during hybrid publication, but you also keep the rights to your book and any subsequent titles in its series.
This arrangement gives you choices throughout your publishing career. For example, you could start traditionally or self-publishing your first book, then switch to a hybrid press. Conversely, you can switch hybrid publishers between projects or go the hybrid route for one project but opt for self-publishing for future publications.
You can even bring a previously self-published book to a hybrid press for a fresher print run or vice versa.
When it comes down to it, the value of hybrid publishing to a self-publisher comes down to quality and control. Of course, whether you work with a hybrid publisher will widely depend on your needs, but their existence as an option enriches the pathways you can take in your career as a professional author.
Over to you: If you have experience with hybrid publishing, what value have you gotten from the process? If not, what type of services are you hoping to find while self-publishing?
ABOUT ELIZABETH JAVOR: With over 20 years of experience in sales and management, Elizabeth Javor works as the Director of Sales and Marketing for Outskirts Press. The Sales and Marketing departments are composed of knowledgeable publishing consultants, customer service reps and book marketing specialists; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Elizabeth Javor can put you on the right path.